Sunday, July 24, 2011

Purging and the messy closet

I have a habit of letting things in storage go for a while - until they finally bug the living hell out of me. Then all hell breaks loose – and watch out for the hurricane named after me.

As a kid, my Mom let me pick-up my own room at my leisure... which meant that I was eventually yelled at until I picked-up my room. Now, I'm not one of those gross people you see on Hoarders or MTV with crap all over the place – just a person who sometimes lets things go a bit. Again - I'm not one of these people that lets things get gross or dirty – and never something where other people can see. If you watched the show "Friends", then you know what I mean by the Monica Closet. A neat freak with a dirty secret - a messy closet.

My Mom used to give me an ultimatum back then – either I clean up my closet/room or SHE would. That really wasn't the threat - but what you have to know is that my Mom cleans her kid's rooms with BLACK GARBAGE BAGS. Seriously – she'd have no problem tossing your 1982 Tiger Beat away or a ticket stub to the movie Rambo and God forbid, the stuffed animal you bought with your own money at age 12.

I'd get the warning that the garbage bags were on their way, so I'd sit on the floor and open my closet. Hours would pass and I'd have tossed nothing – but only my time going through old Tiger Beats. (Donny Osmond was so dreamy).

Eventually, I grew out saving old magazines and movie stubs (Ok, I'm looking right now at the ticket from my first date with my husband) – but today l go through boxes and enjoy my time purging. And the older I get, the better and worse I get. Allow me to explain.

It finally took me 2-1/2 years to purge my work papers. I saved everything - and it was neatly documented in full color, tabbed and in binders or folders. No one at my old job cares about a job I did in 2000 - so why should I? Just maybe, a potential employee might need to see proof? Nope. I've hung on too long, and finally let it go – right into the garbage bags, where it belonged. It belonged there 2-1/2 years ago, but I needed to be able to do it without an resentment.

While purging, I found an art project from a 3D Design class from 1986. It was a bridge made out of toothpicks. And I won first in aesthetics for the project. (thanks to my engineer brother & Dad and their lesson on trusses). The bridge went right back into the box. And for what? To show to someone I know how to waste time making bridges out of toothpicks? To prove I went to design school? I have no idea why.

During this attempt to make room for more stuff in our office, I found an old filing box full of bank statements, returned checks and pay stubs. You know the saying "save everything for 7 years". Ok, but I found returned checks written to Ameritech and Hills. Sitting on the floor with the closet door open, I found statements from BH (before husband). I have to admit, even this is bad for me. I remember keeping this box when I moved quickly before getting married and building our house. I also remember telling myself "I'll shred these soon".

Move the calendar forward almost 8 years and there they were – all neatly in order, taking up space. The pay stubs and checks were easy to shred by date, I have to say. I filled 2 black garbage bags for recycling and also tossed the old filing box, too.

Our office closet isn't so messy anymore – at least not because of me. I don't want to be like my Mom and her garbage bags, tossing my husband's coveted treasures from 1982.

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